(click for full reading)
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
(click on the title above to listen to the sermon)
In today’s gospel reading, Peter is wondering how much forgiveness is enough. There is always a risk in asking Jesus the “how much is enough” question. For the rich young ruler, the answer was to give everything away to the poor. The rich young ruler hung his head and walked away. For Nicodemus, the answer had to do with where the Spirit blows and being born from above, which all sounded impossible to him.
These questions about how much is enough are really about what I am capable of pulling off. What’s the minimum requirement Jesus? I mean, I’ll definitely try to do more, but I’d just like to know what is required of me.
But the kingdom of God is never about minimum requirements or even reasonable expectations. Jesus reminds us of the magnitude of God’s gracious forgiveness of our sin debt.
And when this grace takes hold, almost anything is possible. When this grace takes hold, the answer to Peter’s question about the reasonable limits of forgiveness may end up looking like this. Click HERE to watch an amazing local news story about forgiveness.
Questions to Ponder/Discuss
1. Have you ever witnessed the kind of incredible forgiveness shown by the woman in the news story?
2. How do you think her forgiveness affected her own life?
3. How do you think being forgiven may have changed the life of the man convicted of her son’s murder?
An easy assignment this week. Simply begin your day as Martin Luther did, by making the sign of the cross and saying “I am baptized.” To be baptized is to be chosen and forgiven. So walk around this week aware of your identity as a loved and forgiven child of God. It may open up new possibilities!